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Canadian father fights for life of daughter approved for MAiD

Canada Court

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J-P Mauro - published on 04/05/24

The father is questioning how his 27-year-old daughter was approved when she only has autism and ADHD, two conditions that should not be covered.

A Canadian father is fighting for the life of his 27-year-old daughter who sought and was approved for the nation’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) program. In March, a Calgary court issued a decision that would have allowed the young woman to proceed, but that decision is now headed for appeal, as her father argues that she should not have been approved based on current statutes. 

A report from CBC, which identifies the father as W.V. and the daughter as M.V., explains that M.V. has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. After seeking MAiD and gaining approval by two doctors, M.V. was scheduled to die on February 1, 2024, but the administering of life-ending drugs was halted when her father was granted a last-minute injunction the day before. 

According to the Canadian Department of Justice, neither autism nor ADHD should qualify for MAiD. The department explains on its website: 

“In the context of the federal MAID legislation, the term ‘mental illness’ would not include neurocognitive or neurodevelopmental disorders, or other conditions that may affect cognitive abilities, such as dementias, autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disabilities, which may be treated by specialties other than psychiatry…”

In court, W.V. requested a judicial review that would investigate how M.V. was approved for MAiD without meeting the required criteria. At no point in the hearing was M.V. required to provide proof of her MAiD qualifications, with the court presuming that the two doctors who approved it followed all legal requirements.

W.V. has also requested an injunction to prevent M.V. from accessing MAiD during the review, which was countered by M.V.’s request to dismiss the injunction. 

In the end the court ruled that the autonomy of M.V. outweighed the “serious issues” which her father wanted to explore. While the injunction was not granted, a 30-day stay of judgment was issued so the case could be taken to the appellate court. 

Her father’s legal team intends to force M.V. to answer questions about her MAiD application and qualifications, which were not asked of her in the initial case. Furthermore, they intend to argue that there were dubious practices with regard to her approval for MAiD. In order to be approved for MAiD, patients must secure the signatures of two doctors or nurse practitioners. 

M.V. was approved by one doctor and rejected by a second, before Alberta Health Services sent her to a third doctor who granted the second signature. W.V.’s team will argue that the third doctor was not “independent or objective.” It might also inquire as to the weight of these doctor’s signatures, as the doctor who did not approve of MAiD seems to have been completely ignored.

April is Autism Acceptance Month.

The line for allowing those with Autism Spectrum Disorder to seek death has already been crossed in the Netherlands.

Read more at CBC.

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